A Vegetable Crops Extension Publication
University of Florida
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Cooperative Extension Service
VEGETABLE CROPS CALENDAR
Specialty Crops & Specialty Markets Session
Potato Variety Trial Results. Hastings. Fla..1999
Book Review: Vegetable Gardening in Florida
Vegetable Crops Calendar
2000 Florida Postharvest Horticulture Institute and Industry Tour.
Institute March 6th, University of Florida, Gainesville, with video-links to several sites in Florida.
Industry Tour March 7-10th Statewide
For more information contact: Steve Sargent, (352) 392-1928 ext. 215, e-mail or Abbie Fox (352)
392-1928 ext.235, fax (352) 392-5653, e-mail
Commercial Vegetable Production
Specialty Crops & Specialty Markets Session
(The following is abstracted from Suwannee Valley Field & Greenhouse Grower's
Short Course & Trade Show which was held Jan. 8, 2000)
A. So You're Thinking About Growing for the Restaurant Market?
1. Betty O'Toole, O'Toole's Herb Farm (growers' perspective)
Who we are:
About 10 years ago, they decided they wanted to go back to the
family farm (150 years in the family), always liked herbs.
Didn't have an idea of how much work was involved.
Spent 2 years preparing: checked with Better Business Bureau,
seed companies, herb growers, nurseries, Extension agents,
upscale restaurants (what they used, sources, organic?).
Found most restaurants weren't using local sources.
Determined to make it work.
Jim Wilson, Victory Garden, Callaway South was best source of
Became FOG (Florida Organic Growers) certified before doing
Had time to get ready for organic herb production.
What we do:
No down time (a good day is a rainy Sunday morning so only have
to check the greenhouses, no field work that day).
Fresh-cut retail and potted plants.
Workshops in Fall and Spring.
January is "slow time" to inoculate Shiitake logs, and get ready for
Spring is busiest time, but work 7 days a week, 12 months a year.
Cannot leave the farm for a day without someone tending the
Pulled in all directions, but have a more positive cash flow than
traditional cash crop farming.
How we got there:
Unique to each farmer's situation, but determined to make it work.
2. Keith Baxter, Owner & Chef, Kool Beanz Cafe (chef's perspective)
Chef has to see, touch, feel, taste
Chef has to be educated about seasonality of supply
Restaurant people are unique:
extremely busy, work long hours
some kitchen help is not trained/knowledgeable about
products, especially unique products such as herbs, etc.
challenge is to educate & communicate with kitchen staff
and chefs, ex. Arugula and basil seasonality and supply.
*Bringing bags of expensive things that the chef can't use,
just show up, don't develop relationship, just expect chefs to
buy product, example squash blooms.
Talk with chef:
ask chef what he needs before you even plant (ex.
restaurant customers now ask for Kool & Krazy Greens)
build a relationship
The reason Baxter continues to buy from the O'Tooles for the last five
years is because:
Consistent delivery, etc.
This means a lot to Baxter and that's why he is loyal to
O'tooles in spite of the competition.
Key = Balance between knowing/deciding:
What to grow
How much you are capable of growing
Finding someone to buy what you produce.
Jacksonville is growing, with top notch restaurants & chefs
probably looking for good product. Find the people who want
B. Alternative Hydroponic Systems & Specialty Crops Trials
(Producing crops out of normal season with alternative technology emphasis)
Bob Hochmuth Multi-county Vegetable Extension Agent
(Field production emphasis)
Example: Difficulty in growing basil in February & lettuce in summer, (trying to
come up with alternative ways of producing crops out of normal Florida season).
1. White Mulch, Late Season Lettuce Trial Results (see Fig. 1).
Rated bitterness (1-5) with 3 too bitter for normal sales, > 3 unacceptable
Bitterness taste-tested at mid-June, 1999 harvest
o Loose leaf types: Two Star only acceptable variety.
o Dark Green and Red varieties too bitter.
o Butter Crunch & Bibb types: Ermosa, Carmona, Red
Rouge acceptable varieties.
o Oakleaf types: Cerize (good), Salad Bowl (good), Red
Salad Bowl (o.k.).
o Romaine types: low bitterness but atypical growth habit,
r ^ '-"
g.1. Lettuce trial
Detailed information (Lettuce cultivars for warm seasons) available at:
2. Ornamental Corn
Too many pests to grow in Fall, can't compete with
Plant on plastic and drip in Spring, Calico and Fiesta better
varieties with 8 to 9 inch ears. (better yields, about 10,000
ears/acre at 50 cents/ear = potential gross revenue of
Longer dry-down period during Spring, less pests, need to
work on storage pest management.
Can sell stalks as well as ears.
3. Organic Production in Verticulture
Pelletized composted poultry manure.
Vertigro: manure in top container, rest of system automated
drip irrigation with plants in pearlite (see Fi.2).
Grow Bag culture.
Fig. 2. Vertigro system.
4. Conventional Production in Grow Bag System (Bradford County on-farm
12 month production strawberries (see Fg. 3) & leafy
greens & onions followed by Okra.
Total revenue as much from leafy greens (see Fig. 4) & okra
as from strawberry production.
5. NFREC Suwannee Valley Tour:
To demonstrate organic, mulch, re-cycled gypsum,
strawberry cultivars, specialty cool season crops, with more
information at http://nfrec.ifas.ufl.edu/svrec vg trials.htm
g.Strawberries in grow bags.
Strawberries in grow bags.
iFig. 4. Leafy greens in grow
C. Lei Lani Leon, NFREC Suwannee Valley Lab Technician
(hydroponic& greenhouse alternative crops & systems emphasis)
1. Basil variety trial (Vertigro system)
Italian long leaf, more stemmy.
Genevive, more typical large Italian sweet basil
Purple Ruffled, anise/licorice scent, will turn green when
Mammoth, anise scent
Genovese Compact, first choice for system, very leafy
Osmund, floral scent
2. Basil profit projection
*Example of basil yields of about 8 ounces/plant, 16.5
pounds/tower in a 16 week period potential of $135/tower
during scarce fresh basil period. (SVAREC 99-6 report has
Thyme (normally slow grower) has taken off in this system.
Lettuces, new red varieties look great.
(See Fig. 5)
Fig. 5. Towers system.
More information on greenhouse specialty crop trials 1999-2000 season is
available at http://nfrec-sv.ifas.ufl.south.gh.htm
Outdoor hydroponic specialty crop production covered at tour of SVAREC, more
information available at http://nfrec-sv.ifas.ufl.edu/hydro trial.htm
(Jacque Breman, Union County Ext. Dir., Vegetarian 00-01)
Potato Variety Trial Results, Hastings, Fla.,1999
One hundred and thirty entries were evaluated in five trials at the Hastings-REC
in 1999. The lines were grouped by type and/or color. One of these trials is
The trial was grown in an Ellzey fine sand composed of 90-95% sand, <2.5%
clay, <5% silt, <2% organic matter, and pH 6.8. The field was fumigated with 6
gal/A in-the-row (40 in. row spacing) of Telone II (1,3-D) on December 10, 1998,
and 20 Ib/A of Temik 15G (aldicarb) was applied at planting on February 10,
1999. The crop was seep fertilized with 1200 Ib/A of a 14-2-12 at planting and
700 Ib/A of the same analysis fertilizer on March 17. The crop was irrigated as
needed. Variety treatments were replicated four times in a randomized block
design. Plots were single 15 ft long rows with 22 seed pieces weighing 2-2.5 oz
planted 8 inches apart. Lexone DF was applied at 1.25 Ib/A for weed control on
March 3. Pesticides applied included Bravo Ultrex (chlorothalonil) at 1.25 Ib/A
on April 2; Tattoo C (50% propamocarb HCI + 50% chlorothalonil) at 37 oz/A on
April 9; Manzate 200 DF" (mancozeb) at 1.5 Ib/A on April 15, 22, 29, and May 5;
Dipel DF plus Latron B 1956 at 2.0 Ib/A and 1.0 oz/A, respectively, on April 15,
22, 29, and May 5; Dithane DF (mancozeb) at 1.5 Ib/A and Biobit HP (Bacillus
thuringiensis) at 2.0 Ib/A on May 12. Emergence counts were taken March 9, 16,
23, and April 1. Plant senescence was rated with 1 = vigorous and 10 = dead.
The crop was harvested, washed, graded, sized, and weighed June 1, (111 days
after planting). Random samples of 15-20 "A-size" tubers were taken for specific
gravity determinations and tuber quality assessments. Specific gravity was
determined using the weight-in-air/weight-in-water method. Appearance of tubers
in a composite sample of each line was rated using the NE 184 project rating
scheme. Tuber skin color, texture, shape, eye depth, and appearance were
rated. Tubers were cut to examine for hollow heart, internal necrosis, corky ring
spot, and brown rot. Selected data are reported in Table 1. For a complete
report, request Res. Rept. SAN 2000-11
Maranca, a relatively small cream color potato, had the highest marketable yield
with 461 cwt/acre of which 78% were in the 1 f to 22 inch size. Nine cream to
yellow-flecked potato lines were included in the trial and were the top 5 in yield.
Saginaw Gold was the only one in the top 5 with an appearance rating of good.
There were 16 red potato entries with Rideau, Chieftan, Red LaSoda (USDA),
and B1758-4 having the highest marketable yields. B 1758-4, B1145-2, B0817-4,
and Redsen had an appearance rating of good. Five white lines were included in
the trial with Sebago and LaChipper having the highest marketable yields, but
only poor to fair and fair, respectively, in appearance. Five purple lines were
evaluated (Table 1). B1529-1 had the highest marketable yield, a good
appearance, was moderately netted, mostly oblong, and deep eyes.
Table 1. Yield, size, specific gravity and general appearance data of potato
varieties in the red and yellow trial, Hastings, FL, 1999.
Variety (cwt/A) % Size distribution Skin color
No. 1 z gravity
No. 1 f 2%2- >3"
1 B 3 Culls
1 2%" 3"
Maranca 461 ay 83 7 78 4 1 10 1.0415t Cream
Yukon Gold 392 b 93 2 73 20 0 5 1.0703 b Buff
MSE49- 385 b 93 3 67 26 0 1.0588j-n Cream
Saginaw 349 bc 94 3 88 6 0 3 1.0665 c-f Cream
Columbo 348 bc 85 5 79 6 0 10 1.0498 rs Buff
idea 338 cd 91 3 67 24 0 1.0553n-w Red
Chieftan 334 c-e 87 3 81 6 0 10 1.0563m-o Pink
LaSoda 329 c-f 83 4 64 18 1 13 1.0525p-r Red
B1758-4 319c-g 87 10 87 0 3 1.0605h- Red
Sebago 315 c-h 89 3 62 25 10 1.0588j-n White
LaChipper 310 c-i 91 3 76 15 6 1.0633e-h White
F;c-I I I I1 l
B1758-3 308 c-i 86 84 2 5 1.0593i- Red
Roda 301 d-i 91 4 81 10 0 5 1.0548o-q Red
Norland 301 d-i 91 3 85 6 06 1.0560 m-p Red
B1425-9 296d-i 81 11 77 4 81.0763a Cream
B152- 294 d-i 85 8 82 3 0 7 1.0608 h-k Purple
Sinora 291 e-j 88 11 88 0 1 1.0673b-d Cream
B1751-5 291 e-j 79 7 65 14 0 14 1.0610 h-j Cream
B0984-1 289 f-j 90 7 82 8 0 31.0630f-h Red
I;; f I Io F F
B1492-12 285 f-k 82 10 81 1 8 1.0625f-i Red
Penta 276 g- 86 10 83 3 4 1.0573 k-o White
Diamant 274g- 76 17 76 0 7 1.0648d-g Cream
B0967-11 22 82 7 82 0 0 11 1.0605 h- Purple
B1493-3 268 i-m 91 5 76 15 0 4 1.0673b-d Red
B1145-2 267 i-m 86 7 86 0 71.0540o-q Red
Cherry Red 266 i-m 91 6 90 1 31.0700 bc Red
NoSuperanRed 249 j-n 86 3 75 11 0 11 1.0800s Red
B1763-4 244 k-n 87 7 83 4 6 1.0668 b-e Purple
I k-n I I -
B0852- 7 232-n 81 79 2 9 1.0693 b Purple
Superior 230 mn 90 7 90 0 3 1.0688 bc White
0817-4 218 no 88 9 86 2 1.0760 a Red
B11022-3 184 op 75 20 74 0 6 1.0678b-d Red
Redsen 176 op 84 12 82 2 4 1.0585j-n Red
All Blue 171 p 63 34 63 0 1.0570 I- Purple
Appel 149 p 60 27 59 1 1 12 1.0523 qr White
z No. 1 consists of sizes 1 f to >3" of marketable quality
Y Mean separation in columns by Duncan's multiple range test, 5% level.
(White and Weingartner, Acting Ctr. Dir. Hastings REC,
Book Review: Vegetable Gardening in Florida, by
The following is a review of my book, Vegetable Gardening in Florida. The review
was written by Brent Rowell of the University of Kentucky in Lexington for the
January-March, 2000 issue of HorTechnology, a publication of The American
Society for Horticultural Science.
The most important disclosure of the review is that the book, Vegetable
Gardening in Florida, would make a useful reference not only in Florida, but for
gardeners and gardener advisors everywhere in the USA.
Vegetable Gardening in Florida. James M. Stephens. 1999. The Univeristy
Press of Florida, 15 NW 15th Street, Gainesville, FL 32611-2079. 135 p. color
photographs and illustrations. softcover $15.95 + $4.00 shipping ISBN 0-8130-
Working with commercial vegetables and living far from the balmy subtropical
realms of Florida, I didn't respond over enthusiastically when asked to review
Vegetable Gardening in Florida by James M. Stephens. I was pleasantly
surprised to learn that 95% or more of the information in the book is applicable to
gardening in general and that it was written by someone with a solid career's
worth of commercial and gardening experience with vegetable crops.
Far from a chore, this turned out to be an easy assignment as the book is very
well written with good quality color photographs and/or color artwork on every
page. A lot of thought went into the design of the book; it has just the right
combination of photographs, text, and white space to make it easy to use without
patronizing the reader.
The book assumes nothing and is suitable for everyone from the beginner to the
master gardener. Most of the technical jargon has been eliminated or carefully
explained. The author even goes the extra mile in explaining some old garden
terminology that is often confusing to new gardeners. For example, he explains
planting in hills vs. rows and raised beds. This brings back memories of 25 years
ago as an undergraduate trying to fathom why planting in hills may never involve
raised mounds of earth.
Vegetable Gardening in Florida is logically arranged into 15 chapters on
gardening principles and techniques followed by a long chapter with brief
treatments of individual vegetables, a mandatory chapter on herb production, and
a final chapter on harvesting, storage, and exhibiting produce. Specifics on
yields, seed requirements, variety selection, and Florida planting dates are
conveniently located in tables (Planting Guides) at the end of the book.
Together with the usual gardening topics, readers will find chapters on
Alternative Gardening, including a brief treatment of organic gardening and a
fairly detailed discussion of hydroponic gardening.
Many topics of interest to organic gardeners are also found in other chapters like
Garden Insects or Organic Matter which discuss the use of animal manures,
cover crops, and composting. I would have like to see more detailed information
on the use of trickle irrigation in the home garden. Many gardeners I know get
confused by our commercial trickle irrigation publications and would like to have
the (simple) plumbing laid out in detail. The only other suggestion might be to
include more of the newer disease-resistant commercial hybrids in the table of
recommended garden varieties.
All of the vegetables we're familiar with are included in the Individual Vegetable
Crops section plus many others may be limited to gardens in the tropics and
subtropics. Not many of us will be growing cassava, jicama, or malanga, for
example; on the other hand, most extension agents and specialists do get
questions about tropical vegetables from time to time, and the information
provided here should be helpful.
This is a far cry from the black and white (can I say boring?) gardening extension
publications that many of us are accustomed to. This book should be out there
competing on the shelves with other high quality gardening books from major
publishers. It offers more good information than most and is certainly more bang
for the buck. There are important differences in this book and the popular
competition. This is a book you can trust. The information presented is solid,
science-based, and without the fluff and mythology often included at no extra
charge in popular books on vegetable gardening.
Vegetable Gardening in Florida is highly recommended to the general public
anywhere in the country and especially to extension agents for reference of for
use in their Master Gardener programs.
(Stephens, Vegetarian 00-02)
Extension Vegetable Crops Specialists
Daniel J. Cantliffe
Professor and Chairman, Horticultural Sciences
Timothy E. Crocker
Professor, deciduous fruits and nuts, strawberry
Assistant Professor, strawberry
Betsy M. Lamb
Assistant Professor, production
Assistant Professor, soils
Donald N. Maynard
Stephen M. Olson
Professor, small farms
Mark A. Ritenour
Ronald W. Rice
Assistant Professor, nutrition
Steven A. Sargent
William M. Stall
Professor, weed control
James M. Stephens
Professor and Editor,
Charles S. Vavrina
James M. White
Associate Professor, organic
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